11/13/17 Colloquium - Kent Portney: “Governing the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Solving a Common-Pool Resource Challenge?”
Emerging natural system research has documented connections between water, energy, and food with an eye toward prescribing how to achieve greater efficiencies and to reduce resource depletion. Research has documented amounts of water used in producing energy and food; amounts of energy needed to extract and transport water, etc. Far less well understood is how these resources are “governed”—how public policy and management decisions affecting these connections are made. Underlying existing research is an expectation that if the connections are better understood, policymakers will make decisions resulting specifically in more efficient use of water in the nexus. The expectation is predicated on the idea that decision making in water, energy, and food is “siloed,” and breaking down these silos leads to policy decisions that achieve greater efficiencies. The question animating this paper is whether decision making in water, energy, and food is siloed, and if it is, whether there are conceptual reasons from public policy and management theory to suggest that breaking down these silos will make any difference.